UAE : Retrofitting funds for government buildings

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Financing is now available for retrofitting government buildings in the UAE. Since 2013, the Government of Dubai launched a programme to retrofit 30,000 existing buildings out of the existing stock of 120,000 buildings in UAE through incorporating energy-efficiency measures. The aim of the program is to improve the environmental footprint of the buildings by the year 2030.

According to Stephan Le Gentil, CEO of Etihad ESCO, the financial funding for UAE government retrofit projects is available but the scenario is still a challenge for the private sectors. National Bonds, one of the government’s investors, looks forward to be funding government projects in the city.

One of the challenge in the fund raising movement is the general reluctance among banks and other financial institution to lend money in the absence of collateral, which is a requisite in conventional project-financing.

Le Gentil added that building owners and energy service companies (ESCOs)  engage in performance management contracting jobs and are exploring several channels for raising finance. Both factors take efforts to reduce the cost of retrofitting and approaching manufacturers for solutions.

Several manufacturers, however, have shown their willingness to offer equipment on lease basis. But still, the options are limited. To illustrate, the chiller manufacturers are willing to lease the equipment and nothing more. But the typical retrofit projects involve chillers which requires other equipment as an overall solution for the project.

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